Travel To Go | Camping Under the Stars in Big Sur

Camping Under the Stars in Big Sur

By: Valerie Chen


When you visit Big Sur, leave the smartphone, the laptop, the iPad and all other technology, save for a camera, at home. There simply cannot be any trifling distractions to alter your experience of the Central Coast region.

I grasped this fact as soon the stunning terrain came into view during my first visit to Big Sur in February 2013. On the right was the Pacific Ocean in all its azure beauty, while undulating green hills and towering redwood, tan oak, chaparral and madrone trees flanked my left. That moment was reason enough to return the following year for a longer camping trip, with friends and family members in tow.

Trekking to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, home of the McWay Falls, was first on our list of priorities. Named after a respected rancher of Big Sur County, the park rewards its visitors with a panoramic view of the 80-foot waterfall as well as Big Sur’s rocky and rugged coastline. It’s impossible to take a bad photograph here.

Afterward, we drove north on the winding highway to the popular Big Sur Bakery, eager to get our fix of coffee and pastries. Sit on the porch of the rustic eatery while you sip on a hot latte, fill up on baked goods (such as a trifle made of raspberries, custard, and sponge cake) and catch sight of blue jays whistling sweet notes as they flutter by. 

The beautiful Henry Miller Memorial Library is also worth a visit. Not actually a library, it’s a bookstore and performance venue that fully beguiles passersby. Though we weren’t fortunate enough to catch a show, musical artists such as Band of Horses, Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and Pixies have performed at the renowned space.

Despite staying up late each night — searching the sky for shooting stars, sharing stories, playing silly board games and drinking wine — we always rose with the sun, averse to miss even a moment of sunlit exploration.

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